Lanterns of hope will light Green Lake at From Hiroshima to Hope on Saturday, August 6, the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The event honors the victims of the atomic bombings and all victims of violence, as it brings a message of peace at a time of heightened nuclear tensions, racial injustice, and devastating wars. This year also marks the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of Japanese Americans on the U.S. West Coast.
- Event: free and open to the public
- Venue: Just south of the Bathhouse, on Green Lake’s northwest shore at West Green Lake Drive North and Stone Avenue North
- More information: http://fromhiroshimatohope.org
Pre-program activities begin at 6:00 p.m., with gatherers preparing their lanterns for the event. Rev. Dr. Kelle J. Brown of Plymouth Church opens the family program at 7:00 p.m. with a blessing. Tara Villalba, a Northwest nuclear disarmament activist, serves as emcee. This year’s event features keynote speaker Lori Matsukawa, journalist, retired KING 5 anchor, and a co-founder of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. Matsukawa was recently awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays by the government of Japan, for her work in promoting friendly relations between the United States and Japan.
In addition to Matsukawa, the program includes popular Ukrainian singer Roman Vashchuk; poet Sharon Hashimoto, author of More American; Patrick Oiye on shamisen; the Japanese American drum performance group, Seattle Kokon Taiko; and Michael Stern, a singer/songwriter who advocates peace and justice through his music. The candle-lit lantern ceremony, based on the Toro Nagashi, begins at 8:00 p.m. and is led by Brothers Senji Kanaeda and Gilberto Perez. Patrick Johnson will play shakuhachi at the dock, the traditional flute music accompanying the floating lanterns.
The event will also display the fabric sculpture, “Little Boy (folded)” created by artist Yukiyo Kawano, who has sewn silk kimono fabric with strands of her hair (the artist’s DNA as a third generation hibakusha) to form a suspended full-scale sculpture of Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Calligraphy will be done in advance, and pre-inscribed lantern papers will be provided. Japanese calligraphers will be on site to offer translations of their messages. Out of concern for the immunocompromised and vulnerable populations, masks will be encouraged.
From Hiroshima to Hope is one of the largest commemorations of the bombings held outside of Japan.
The event has been held every year since 1984, with the exception of 2020’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a shift to a film, “75 Years & Counting.” From Hiroshima to Hope is created annually by the non-profit organization, From Hiroshima to Hope, and is supported by local peace, community and faith organizations, and this year, by funding from the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and the Abe Keller Peace Education Fund.